Beached luxury yacht spills diesel in Maui’s Honolua Bay

The U.S. Coast Guard responds to a 94-foot luxury yacht stranded on a reef on the north side of Honolua Bay in Maui On Monday.

Eight boaters aboard the Nakoa were safely brought back to shore by the Maui Fire Department.

The Ministry of Land and Natural Resources reports that a spurt of diesel fuel leaked from the yacht’s hull on Tuesday.

A Coast Guard security team is working with the vessel’s owner to arrange recovery and removal.

Due to the urgency of the required action, the Coast Guard federal coordinator on the ground opened the National Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which federally pools efforts to mitigate potential pollution. According to the DNLR, this means that the yacht cannot be moved until all fuel, batteries and all other pollutants on board are removed.

The organization said it will likely be a few more days before the yacht can be freed.

Sea Engineering Inc., a Honolulu-based oil spill cleanup organization, was tasked with cleaning up any potential spills and mitigating environmental hazards. Sorbent materials are used today to address water pollution.

The Coast Guard said it will continue to work with the state Department of Health Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office and DNLR, Sea Engineering Inc. and the owner to safely remove the vessel.

While the beach and water remain open, emergency responders are asking people to remain cautious in the area for safety.

“We understand everyone’s frustration at the beaching and damage to the reef of Honolua, a bay teeming with marine life that is loved by many Maui residents and visitors alike,” said Laura Kaakua, first deputy DLNR. “Wednesday will focus on defueling the ship and then we can move on to efficient removal with as little additional damage as possible.”

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